Joshua Benanav
BENANAV, Joshua Benanav, 84, of White Plains, NY, formerly of West Hartford, CT, died Saturday, March 24, 2007. Born Joshua Szereny in Uzhorod, Czechoslovakia on November 18, 1922, he was the son of the late Bertha (Freiberg) and Bela Szereny. Bela was the first Jew to be awarded an Iron Cross in the Austo-Hungarian Army during World War I; he died in Mathausen Concentration Camp in 1945. Bertha, along with Joshua's sister Aviva, died in Auschwitz in 1944. In 1940 Joshua graduated from the local Jewish High School in Uzhorod and he went to Trade School in Hungary, as Jews were not permitted to attend university. In 1942 he was sent to a slave labor unit under the command of the Hungarian Army. In 1944 he escaped from the Hungarian Army Unit in Romania and hid in the woods for nearly six months , at which time he was liberated by the Russians. In December 1944, Joshua and a group of approximately 600 Jews snuck by boat into Turkish territorial waters, which were under British control. Three days after meeting Isadora Rosen on that boat, he married her on a train traveling between Istanbul and Palestine. Upon arrival in Israel, Isadora changed her name to Aviva in honor of Joshua's murdered sister. In Palestine, Joshua became a furniture maker. From 1946-1948 he served as a member of the Israeli underground, the Irgun, fighting for independence from the British. In 1948-1950 he was an officer in the Israeli Army, where he led a unit participating in the liberation of Eilat. In 1949 Joshua changed his family name to Ben-Anav. Also in 1949 he built a toy factory in Israel and later commenced an export-import business. In 1953, Joshua and his family emigrated to the United States. From 1957-1989 he was a real estate developer. From 1989-2001 he lived in West Hartford, CT. He leaves his wife, Aviva (Rosen) Benanav; his three sons: Gary Gideon Benanav and his wife Ruth Benanav , of West Hartford, CT and New York, NY; Jay Yair Benanav and his wife Lucy Kanson, of St. Paul, MN; and Dan Benanav of Yorktown Heights, NY; his grandchildren: Michael, Tami, Steven, Jesse, David, Sam, Aaron and Et han: and his great-grandchildren, David, Sara, and Lucas. He was predeceased by his daughter, Tamar Benanav who died in 1948 and by his son, Jonathan Benanav, who who died in 1989. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 10:00 AM in the Chapel of the Weinstein Mortuary, 640 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT with Rabbi Ilana Garber officiating. Interment will follow in Beth El Temple Cemetery, Avon. The family will sit shiva on March 28 and March 29 at 20 Northmoor Road in West Hartford and on the afternoons of March 29 and March 30 at 333 East 57th Street in Manhattan. Contributions should be made to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, P.O. Box 90988 Washington, DC 200900988. For further information, directions, or to share memories of Joshua with his family, please visit online at

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